The Lord of the Manor – by Stile Teckel and Gabriel Nightshadow – narrated by Asclepius
Hello everyone. This is Aclepius, with a wonderful story, written by Stile Teckel and Gabriel Nightshadow
It represents Stile’s biography, and it is entitled
The Lord of the Manor
Background music by Smartsound
Chapter One: Legacy
As Stile Teckel entered the immense display room of his late grandfather’s home, he still couldn’t believe that he was gone. Joseph Teckel had passed away two weeks ago at the ripe old age of 100. A world-renowned, retired archaeologist, he had spent most of life traveling to exotic locales and discovering rare artifacts, many of which were now on display in the most famous museums around the world. Quite a few of these rare artifacts remained in his personal collection stored here in his Tudor-style home which he had shared with his late wife, Mary, who had passed away ten years ago. Stile still couldn’t quite understand why his grandfather had left his home and its contents to him in his will rather than his daughter, Stile’s mom, Nyssa.
One display case suddenly caught Stile’s attention. Inside was a full length oval shaped mirror with solid gold frame. The frame itself was encrusted with rare and precious gems and strange looking runes which Stile did not recognize. The small computer display screen next to the case indicated that this item was “Nystal’s Mirror of Infinite Wonder”.
Nystal…that name seemed vaguely familiar. Stile suddenly remembered that dark and stormy night thirty years ago when his grandfather had come to visit and told him a fairy tale about a far off land he had once visited long ago known as New Britannia, ruled over by the wise and powerful monarch known as Lord British. Lord British often relied on the counsel of the mysterious prophet known as Nystal (or Time Lord, as he was more commonly known). But that was merely a fairy tale…wasn’t it?
Stile was intrigued by the artifact. Could it be a portal to this other world which his grandfather had spoken of? If Stile could decipher the runes, perhaps he could discover how to activate it. Stile searched all of the other display cases in the room, but was unable to find anything that might help him decipher the strange runes.
Stile sat down at the table in the center of the room and pulled out his laptop. He began an online search. After many hours, he discovered that, although the runes bore many similarities to several ancient languages, there didn’t seem to be an exact match in any known Earth database. Stile was growing frustrated. He remembered that his late grandfather had told him that tale for a reason, for Joseph had made Stile swear never to repeat it to anyone else. Perhaps there was a clue in the tale…
Stile glanced over once at the computer screen next to the display case. He walked over to it and noticed several keys marked on the keyboard underneath it. One was a red button marked Administrator. Stile pressed it and the computer requested his user ID. Stile glanced at the description of the item on the line above it again. No…it couldn’t be that simple, Stile thought to himself. He typed in: TIMELORD.
Suddenly, Stile heard an audible click and a hidden panel opened up in the floor directly in front of the display case. Stile went over to investigate. Inside, he found three items: two massive, leather bound volumes which had been well-preserved in the hidden compartment and something which resembled a metal, circular, compact powder case. One of the leather bound volumes was his late grandfather’s journal, which was entitled “My Adventures in New Britannia”. The other volume was entitled “A Guide to the Runic Language”, written by someone named Dame Lori. Stile opened up the compact case and saw a miniature version of the mirror embedded in the lower half. The runes surrounding the miniature mirror began to glow. Stile quickly closed the compact and put it in his pants pocket. He placed the two leather bound volumes on the table in the center of the room.
The display screen suddenly went blank and a prerecorded video made by his late grandfather, Joseph, began to play.
“Hello, Stile!”, said Joseph, “It’s me, grandpa! If you’re watching this, it means I’ve finally moved on and joined your late grandmother up in heaven. As you might have guessed, that tale I told you many years ago when you were a child really did happen. On an archaeological dig many years ago in ancient China, I happened to stumble through a lunar rift and ended up in the land known as New Britannia. I helped their monarch, Lord British, and his advisor, Nystal, locate and recover an ancient artifact which they used to defeat a powerful foe who was terrorizing the land. In recognition for my help, Lord British knighted me and requested that I stay in New Britannia and help them rebuild the kingdom after the devastation caused by their foe. But I knew that my place was here on Earth with your grandmother, so I declined. Nystal told me he had foreseen a time in the distant future when you would come to New Britannia and aid their champion, the Avatar, and his companions in their battle against an even more powerful foe. I have left you a few items that will help you in that respect. When you are ready to travel to New Britannia, touch the runes surrounding the miniature mirror in the compact in sequence to spell out the word AVATAR. Good luck, Stile! I know you will make me proud! ”
The video ended and another panel suddenly opened up in the wall next to the display case, revealing a hidden compartment. Inside, Stile found a jeweled katana, a full suit of shiny chain mail armor, a sturdy long bow marked with glowing magic runes, a quiver full of steel arrows, a dagger, a knight’s tunic, a leather backpack, and a small leather pouch filled with gold, silver, and copper coins.
Stile stood there for a moment and took it all in. New Britannia was real! He had the opportunity to visit a whole new world and start over again. Stile took a few moments to think about his life. He was stuck in a boring, dead end job with a nasty, young, female boss who was a real control freak. His lovely wife had recently left him and run off to Las Vegas with some young stud half her age and his daughter was having an affair with her married college literature professor, who was nearly Stile’s age! His son had quite college to become a rapper, but having failed in that, was now a low level drug dealer for some methamphetamine manufacturer who called himself “Mr. Schweitzer”. Yup, there was nothing really keeping him here! What should he do next?
Stile sat down at the table and began reading his grandfather’s journal…
Chapter Two: Preparing For the Journey
After spending the next several months reading both volumes, Stile was able to gain a basic understanding of the written Runic language, the spoken language, and the history and culture of New Britannia. However, Stile soon realized that he needed more detailed knowledge before he could cross over to this new realm.
Using instructions which his grandfather had left in his journal, Stile discovered that the mirror could also be used as a viewing screen into New Britannia. By pressing a specific rune sequence on the compact, he could access a specific lunar rift and view the activity in the surrounding area. In this mode, he could see what the inhabitants of New Britannia were doing, but they would be unable to see him (i.e., one way viewing only). His grandfather had conveniently listed the rune sequences for all of the major lunar rifts scattered throughout New Britannia in his journal, so over the course of the next several years, Stile was able to gain a deeper understanding of the spoken language, clothing, and local customs of the people inhabiting each region of New Britannia.
As Stile began observing the people of New Britannia through the magic mirror, he began searching for a native who he believed could help him enact his master plan in this strange, new world.
After five years of careful observation, Stile finally believed he had the ideal candidate.
Roderick was the younger son of an important Duke. Unlike his older, well-respected brother, Robert, young Roderick was only interested in having a good time, and wasted much of his father’s money on booze and whores. Eventually he was kicked out of the family castle by his father and stricken from his will. Penniless and lacking any real skills, Roderick only had his good looks and charm to rely on. Through a female prostitute he knew, he made contact with the notorious thief known as Red Badger , and became his apprentice.
Roderick soon discovered that he had a knack for thievery and surveillance, and he and Red Badger soon developed a reputation as the best team of thieves in all of Novia. For a while, all went well and both Roderick and the Red Badger were living a life of luxury with their ill-gotten gain.
But then came the day when Red Badger got too ambitious and decided that they should break into Lord British’s private vault at night and steal some of his most rare and powerful artifacts. After breaking into the vault, Red Badger “accidentally” alerted the guards to their presence. Red Badger managed to escape with a few of the artifacts, but Roderick was caught by the guards and sentenced to life in prison. After a year behind bars, Roderick managed to escape and was now on the run.
This man Roderick definitely has the skills I’m looking for, Stile thought to himself. I will look him up immediately upon my arrival in New Britannia.
Shortly after this 35th birthday, Stile invited his mother, Nyssa, over for dinner. Afterwards, he showed her everything his grandfather had left him in the display room and revealed his plans to her.
“But Stile, you’re talking about the rest of your life!”, exclaimed Nyssa. “Are you sure this is what you want to do?”
“Mom, I’ve never been more sure than anything in my life!”, replied Stile. “There’s nothing keeping me here. In New Britannia, I have a chance to start over again and live out my dreams! …And don’t worry, mom, once I’ve established myself, I’ll bring you over as well.”
“Wouldn’t you like to spend your retirement years in a place like this?”, said Stile, as he pointed to an image of a busy town in New Britannia which was displayed in the magic mirror.
“I must admit it does have a great deal of appeal to me, son.”, said Nyssa, as she gazed longingly at the images of the townspeople going about their daily business. “You know, I never told you this before, but it was your grandfather’s tales of this realm which stirred my imagination and got me interested in role playing games when I was a young girl. I’ve been writing computer code for so many years now…I was planning on finally retiring in a couple of years and taking that trip to Great Britain like I always wanted to…”
“Then it’s settled then!”, exclaimed Stile. “I’ve already put my affairs in order and given you power of attorney so you can use my bank account to pay the bills on this estate until I’m ready to bring you over. Every Friday night at 8:00 PM, I will activate the magic mirror from the other side using this (shows his mom the compact) and let you know how I’m doing.”
“OK, Stile.”, replied Nyssa. “While you change into your tunic and armor, I’ll pack you a nice meal. We have plenty of roast lamb, buttermilk biscuits, butternut squash, and apples left over from dinner.”
Stile nodded and then retrieved all of the items from the compartment next to the display case. When he was done changing, his mom handed him the leather backpack, which was now stuffed full of food. Stile put the backpack on.
Nyssa gave her son a big hug and then began crying.
“I’m going to miss you, Stile!”, she sobbed. “Your grandfather would be so proud of you right now!”
“I know, mom.”, replied Stile. “I believe this is what he wanted for the both of us – to live out the rest of our lives in New Britannia like he never got the chance to!”
Stile pulled out the compact and pushed a sequence of runes. The image of a forest appeared in the magic mirror. A large port city loomed in the distance. Stile pressed the runes on the compact which spelled out the word AVATAR. Suddenly all of the runes on the magic mirror began to glow and the image shimmered for a moment. It was time to go.
Stile walked towards the mirror. He turned around one last time to see his mom standing there, smiling.
“Take good care of yourself, son! “, she said.
“I will, mom!”, replied Stile, ““Remember, every Friday at 8:00 pm sharp!”
He waved to his mom one last time, then turned and stepped through the mirror…
Chapter Three: Spy Master and Merchant Prince
“There he is men, hiding behind that tree!”, shouted the commander of the guards, “Grab him!”
Roderick broke cover and ran through the forest as fast as he could, but could tell from the sounds of the rapidly approaching footsteps that they were closing in on him. He felt a hand clamp down on his left shoulder.
“I’ve got you now!”, a guard exclaimed.
Suddenly, Roderick felt an arrow whiz by him as it struck the guard in his right eye, killing him instantly. The guard fell backwards and hit the ground. Two other guards who were a short distance behind him immediately stopped and drew their swords.
‘What did that arrow come from?”, one shouted, right before an arrow struck him in the chest, and he, too, fell to the ground, dead.
“Show yourself, coward!”, yelled the commander of the guards, as he grabbed Roderick and held his sword to his throat, “Otherwise, I’ll kill your friend, here!”
There was no response, as the guard commander scanned the area around him for any signs of movement.
The commander did not see the mysterious figure sneak up behind him and slash him in the back with a katana! The commander dropped his sword and fell to the ground, dead.
Roderick turned around and saw a knight clad in chain mail standing there.
“Thank you for saving me, kind sir!”, said Roderick. “I am just a poor, unfortunate soul who was framed for a crime I did not commit and was forced to flee from the authorities when they didn’t believe me!”
The mysterious knight stared at Roderick and said, “You are not as innocent as you claim to be, Roderick! I know exactly what kind of man you truly are!”
“You know me? I don’t believe we’ve ever met before…”, replied a surprised Roderick.
“No, we haven’t met before in person.”, replied the knight, “But I’ve been following your exploits for some time now. You have the right skills I’m looking for in an associate. Join me and I promise you wealth and power beyond your wildest dreams! I also promise you that, one day, you will have your revenge against your former associate, Red Badger!”
“Yes, that all sounds very tempting!”, said Roderick, as he raised his right eyebrow, “But why would a knight want to associate himself with someone like me?”
“My grandfather was a noble knight who once served Lord British.”, replied the stranger, as he held out his hand. “I’m a more practical man. Will you accept my offer?”
“Yes, I think I will!”, replied Roderick, shaking the stranger’s hand, “So, my new friend, what shall I call you?”
“You may call me Sir Stile Teckel.”, replied Stile, as he beamed.
Acting through Roderick, Sir Stile began establishing his extensive spy network. Roderick would make contact with people with access to important information, such as servants of nobles, merchants, and politicians and pay them well to spy on their employers. These spies never knew who their true employer was. Roderick simply referred to him as “The Big Boss”. At first, this spy network was limited to the port city which Sir Stile Teckel had settled in, but over time, he had Roderick establish contacts in all of the major towns and cities he did business with.
Sir Stile used the information he acquired to secretly blackmail the rich and powerful and gain an unfair advantage in purchasing goods and services. As far as the public was concerned, Sir Stile Teckel was simply a highly successful merchant who gave generously to help feed, house, and educate the poor. He had Roderick establish a private security force, composed mostly of former soldiers, who helped the outnumbered city guards finally eliminate the gangs of thieves and robbers who regularly prowled the city streets at night. Indeed, in a few short years, Sir Stile had become one of the most influential men in that port city and had established a vast trade empire stretching from Brittany to Port Graff in Northeast Novia and Ardoris in the Southeast Novia (The Teckel Trade Triangle) and even beyond to the Kingsport and Owls Head in the Hidden Vale.
Chapter Four: A Greater Purpose
Five years after his arrival in New Britannia, Sir Stile Teckel had become so rich and powerful that he was elected mayor of the port city. He acquired a castle lot and had a grand castle built there, surrounded by high stone walls and a moat.
Stile brought him mother, Nyssa, over from Earth, and gave her one of the guest houses on his estate. There she was able to pursue her interests in painting, pottery, and sewing. She also became active in community events, such as the Summer Food Festival, and the local poetry group which met weekly in the public library. On Friday evenings, Stile would accompany Nyssa to the local pub where they would listen to the bards spin their tales and play their music. The local pub also was an excellent place for Stile to secretly seduce the beautiful, young, local girls, for he had a healthy sexual appetite, and he found that the daughters of the nobles whom he met at the charity balls and other major gatherings of the nobility to be rather passionless and boring.
Life was good for Sir Stile on both a personal and business level. The only major rival he had to contend with in the business arena was Duke Garen, who was a member of the Great Council. As the head of one of the most powerful families in the kingdom, Duke Garen had used his wealth and influence to expand his trade empire. Until recently, Duke Garen had focused on building his empire in the Western half of Novia, but now he sought to expand into Sir Stile’s territory. Roderick and his spies had not been able to uncover much information about the mysterious Duke Garen, who was rarely ever seen in public. There were rumors that Duke Garen was not actually the late Duke’s legitimate heir, that his mother had actually had an affair with another noble and passed off the offspring as the late Duke’s. But without some sort of proof, that bit of information was of no value to him.
As Sir Stile sat at his desk in his study pondering his next move, he received two most unexpected guests.
A white bearded figure clad in an orange robe and carrying a sturdy wooden staff suddenly appeared before him in a puff of white smoke. Behind him stood another slightly younger looking, white bearded figure clad in a purple wizard’s robes and wearing a pointed wizard’s hat. He held a long, curvy staff which was covered in magic runes and had a glowing red gem on top.
“Greetings, Sir Stile!”, said the white bearded figure. “Do not be alarmed! We mean you no harm! Allow me to introduce myself. I am Nystal, and this is my good friend, Lord Baldrith!”
“Nystal?”, exclaimed Sir Stile. “Are you the same Nystal who befriended my grandfather, Joseph, many years ago?”
“Indeed, I am, Sir Stile!”, replied Nystal. “You have done quite well for yourself these past five years, as I knew you would. As I predicted, Roderick has proven to be a good right hand man.”
“You know Roderick?”, asked Sir Stile.
“Not in this form, of course.”, replied Nystal. “Five years ago, I disguised myself as a guard at the prison he was being held in and secretly aided him in his escape.”
“I see.”, said Sir Stile, stroking his chin. “So everything that has transpired these past five years has been part of some sort of master plan of yours?”
“You are a bright fellow indeed, Sir Stile!”, answered Nystal. “A grave threat to all of New Britannia will soon be upon us. You role is to help support the Avatar and his other companions, such as Lord Baldrith here, by providing them intelligence gathered through your spy network, resources, and access to important people and places through your personal contacts.”
“I think I can handle that.”, replied Sir Stile.
“Good to hear that.”, replied Nystal, who suddenly had a very serious look on his face, “ Sir Stile, your hand to hand and ranged combat skills are quite good, but they will be of little use against someone like your new business rival, Duke Garen. You may not realize this, but he is a powerful sorcerer, well versed in the dark arts. In order to stand any chance against him, you will have to learn the schools of magic as well. I’ve brought Lord Baldrith here to instruct you.”
“I see,”, said Sir Stile, “ I was unaware that Duke Garen practiced sorcery. No disrespect, Lord Baldrith, but are you a highly skilled mage?”
“I would say so, since I studied with the best!’, answered a grinning Lord Baldrith, “ I was Nystal’s finest apprentice.”
“Indeed he was!”, said Nystal, as he nodded approvingly, “I’ve never met anyone else with such a talent for magic.”
“I must go now and continue my search for the new Avatar!”, declared Nystal, “I leave you in Lord Baldrith’s capable hands!”
Nystal vanished in a puff of white smoke.
“Does he do pop in and out like that all of the time?’, asked Sir Stile.
“You get used to it after a while.”, answered Lord Baldrith, as he shrugged his shoulders, “Be thankful that he’s not as bad as his cousin, Mingo!”
“So, Lord Baldrith, where do we begin?”, asked Sir Stile.
“I think we should start with the Life school of magic…”, replied Lord Baldrith, as he stroked his long, white beard, “We do want you to stay alive during combat, after all…”